Published Aug 22, 2018On Little Kid's fifth self-released album, Might As Well With My Soul, the band continue to build on their astutely crafted folk-rock that have made them one of the best, but highly underrated, Toronto-based acts of the last few years. Led by the ever-meticulous Kenny Boothby, Little Kid's grainy narratives are full of wide-eyed existential inspections that are invigorated by colourful musical flourishes and grounded by Boothby's matured ability to linger on moments of melodrama.
The album opens with "The Only Light," an enchanted and solemn piano ballad speckled with a sparse, woody guitar and Boothby's boyish voice. Following that, "Two Invitations," Might As Well With My Soul's lead single, finds the band quickly convening before the notes of a powdery harmonica start and Boothby sets the scene with his acoustic guitar: a recently split-up couple are invited to he same close friend's wedding as they question the state of their own bond in unspoken words. Along with Paul Vrooms' guiding bass guitar and Brodie Germain's steadily shifting drums, Megan Lunn's backing vocals make the tender interaction in the song feel very real as the guitars and keys evaporate into a clashing descent near its five-minute mark and decidedly resolve a minute later.
Little Kid's longer song lengths give them the ability to draw out every texture and emotion from Boothby's vocal delivery, which ranges from intimate whispers to a sort of dampened bitterness with self-doubt. The early-morning drowsiness of "Receiver" is Boothby at his most vulnerable, and the union of woozy instrumentation and subtle manipulations accentuate the feeling of yearning. The warped riff at the beginning of "A Road in My Mind" builds up to a sonorous climax while never reaching its boiling point.
Elsewhere, the warbly crunch on "In the Red" and the hushed guitar on closer "Easy or Free" help make Might As Well With My Soul Little Kid's most diverse record yet. The music here is intricately dotted with wonderful lyrical and sonic surprises that are deliberately washed in golden-hour light before being carefully creased and folded and put away for another time. (Independent)